Inclusive Language Series: Color Blind

You may have previously heard a friend or someone you know say the following: “I don’t see color” or “I am color blind. I only see the human race”. These statements should not be confused with the very real condition that prevents one from being able to perceive color differences or decreases their ability to do so. Color Blindness ideology assumes that everyone is treated as equal with no regard for race. This perspective denies the negative encounters that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) face due to their race. It also ignores their unique perspectives and their cultures.

One who subscribes to the Color Blindness ideology may believe that they are supporting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), but they are doing the opposite. When you refuse to acknowledge one’s race, you prevent yourself from being able to fully understand racism and its impacts. As a result, you cannot address the inequities that stem from racism.

If you want to support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), anti-racism is the best approach! Unlike color blindness ideology, anti-racism is the practice of identifying and opposing racism and working to actively change policies, behaviors, and beliefs that perpetuate racist ideas and actions. One of the first steps of anti-racist practice is to acknowledge that race does exist and impacts Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) as they move through the world.

Reflection Questions

  • If you have utilized Color Blindness Ideology consider why this may be? Is it because racial issues are uncomfortable to discuss or for another reason?
  • What can you do to learn more about others whose race is different from yours?
  • When you hear someone utilize Color Blindnes Ideology, how would you respond to call them into conversation?
  • How can you start to practice anti-racism in your day-to-day life?



Colorblind: ReThinking Race | PBS

The problem with racial color blindness | Phil Mazzocco | TEDxMansfield — YouTube


What is Anti-Racism? | Boston University Community Service Center

Being Anti-Racist Starts with 5 Actions Steps | NALP PDQ

What it Actually Means When You Say You’re “Color-blind” – ATTN:

How Colorblindness Is Actually Racist | HuffPost Life

The Effect of Colorblind Racial Ideology on Discussion of Racial Events: An Examination of Responses to the News Coverage of the Trayvon Martin Shooting (